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« March 2012 | WILLisms.com | May 2012 »

Governor Rick Perry's Game-Changing Texas Budget Compact.

Across the nation, state governments are facing tough choices. Barack Obama's unnecessarily prolonged economic downturn has caused anticipated state budget revenues-- projected in good times-- to vanish. Adding to the misery: most states spent one-time stimulus dollars on recurring expenses in 2009, creating new baselines of spending far above where they would have been without such fleeting federal, ahem, benevolence. Meanwhile, old and new federal mandates have piled on expenses that states must now cover on their own. See Medicaid for a great example of a vast federal program gone haywire and weighing down budgets in mostly-domed buildings around the country.

Texas has fared better than almost every other state throughout this Great Recession, and it has undoubtedly fared better than any other large state. But Texas faces an ugly budget situation in the 2013 just like every other state, and we'll keep facing and increasingly challenging budget situation in 2015, 2017, and beyond, without fundamental reform.

Part of that reform means that Texas will either get Congress and the next President to fix Medicaid, or be left with no other possible choice but to withdraw from the program entirely. Since 1991, Texas Medicaid expenditures have risen 537%, going from 14% of the state budget to 25% of the state budget in 2011 (.pdf). In just two to three more decades, Medicaid will consume a majority of the Texas budget. The whole thing is just unsustainable, and the trends are only getting uglier each year.

This week, Governor Perry announced a conservative budget plan that will bind legislators to:

* Practice truth in budgeting.
* Support a Constitutional limit of spending to the growth of population and inflation.
* Oppose any new taxes or tax increases, and make the small business tax exemption permanent.
* Preserve a strong Rainy Day Fund.
* Cut unnecessary and duplicative government programs and agencies.


Think of these principles as a sort of Texas-based Taxpayer Protection Pledge from Americans for Tax Reform. It will help conservatives win in the upcoming primaries by sorting the signers from the RINOs. It will help reveal the true colors of candidates, especially in a lot of these new open seat districts.

All conservative voters should demand that their legislators sign Governor Perry's Texas Budget Compact before the May 29th Texas primary. If they haven't yet signed it, what's the excuse?

Already, the pledge is separating the wheat from the chaff. Steadfast conservatives like Ken Paxton and Wayne Christian were among the first to sign it. The list of legislative signers is growing each day. And great new faces like Dr. Troy Bonin in the new and open Texas House District 3 just outside of Houston embraced the pledge enthusiastically. Bonin's two opponents, for now at least, are missing in action on this pledge.

The next Texas legislature will have an abundance of new faces to deal with the abundance of serious issues. We should demand that our legislative candidates not only sign the Governor's pledge but campaign openly on these issues in the primary. In order for Texas to remain "America's America" or "America's last best hope" or "America's shining state on a hill," getting our budget house in order is not a platitude or a talking point, it is an absolutely non-negotiable moral imperative.

So, has your legislator signed on to the Texas Budget Compact? If not, you might want to look elsewhere for your next State Representative.

Posted by Will Franklin · 19 April 2012 08:24 AM · Comments (0)